Let's Go to the Beach! (West Coast Trail 2015 - Day 3)

Day 3 - Monday, August 24, 2015
Route: Walbran Creek (KM 53) to Cribs Creek (KM 41)
Distance: 12 km
Start Time: 9:00am

Day three meant we were half way there.  Today's agenda forces hikers to take the scenic route through the beach.  We had no idea what lied ahead since we were pretty much used to walking through the humid rainforest and a brief walk through the beach on day one. Nonetheless it didn't matter though, most of the group wanted to try something other than ladders, logs, and hills at this point.

Walking out of the campsite, the conditions were a bit foggy with low tides.  The terrain was definitely different that the usual hiking trail as well.  You had a couple of choices of where to walk on - Dry Sand, Wet Sand, and the hard bottom near the shoreline.  My recommendation would be to walk on the hard bottom during low tide.  The dry sand was a bit tricky since your foot would sink into the sand, which made walking difficult, but the wet sand made it easier since it was a little harder and compact. Gaiters were also a necessity at this point since they helped shield your lower legs/pants from getting wet and having any sand and/or water sneaking into your boots.

Walking on the shoreline and the combination of the fog made for some great views of the ocean, beaches, and rock formations along the way. It's amazing what you can see when you take the time to soak in the moment and enjoy the scenery.  There were also a couple shipwrecks along the way as we did find a few boats and pieces of ship wreckages washed up on shore  

Once we reached the final shipwreck at Bonilla Point, the lighthouse at Carmanah Point became visible from the distance, which meant we were also close to “Chez Monique” aka, the burger shack! Located near KM 44, Chez Monique would be one of two food stops on the West Coast Trail.  The other being the crab shack (more on that on Day 4).  This pit stop is strategically located in the middle of the trail when hikers have been craving for something other than freeze dried meals.  It's definitely made an impression on most hikers.  Pretty much every other person we've ran into has hyped up the burger shack since day one. The only catch was a burger would set you back $20, so a fresh tasting meal was not cheap at all.  With the anticipation of eating a burger since we began the hike, we were all willing to pay anything to eat something other than our packed meals.  

As we arrived at the burger shack, we didn't hesitate to order right away.  As mentioned, a burger w/ coleslaw would cost $20, plus an additional $2 for bacon, cheese, or mushrooms.  Or you can have all 3 toppings for $5.  Another item we were all craving was beer!  That went for $7 and a tallboy for $9.  Luckily they sold them cold.  We also packed a few for camp later that night!  For those hikers who were low on supplies, Chez Moniques also sold snacks, chocolate bars, candy, and toilet paper.  There’s even a “hiker’s box” were you can swap one item for another. (freeze dried meals, fuel, etc.).  It’s also a great way to drop some weight from your bag if you packed a bit too much.

While waiting for our burgers, we chatted and socialized with a few hikers who gave us advice and tips on what to come for the next couple of days.  As our burgers arrived at our table, each one of us didn't hesitate to pig out!  It wasn’t the best burger I’ve eaten, but it did satisfy our cravings.

After indulging on burgers, beers, and candy and taking the time to relax, we eventually made our way to the lighthouse for a quick tour.  It's pretty neat to still see it operational and maintained to this day.  There is also a guestbook for hikers to document their names, which we were happy to sign on the way back to the trail.

Unlike day one and two, we made it to the Cribs Creek Campground a little earlier in the day.  This meant we had a little more time in the day to take a swim on the beach and enjoy our beers for the evening...